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Alexander Popov. Knife Combat - Version of Spetsnaz GRU - Self-Defense with Knife. Moscow, 2005 /e-Book, pdf, 1.93 MB, 69 pp./ (#300054175):

Knife Combat

Version of Spetsnaz GRU

self-defense with knife


Spetsnaz Training Association, Moscow.

Copyright: Alexander Popov.

Translated from Russian, Moscow 2005.


Special Forces of the MAIN INTELLIGENCE DEPARTMENT of the General Staff of the Russian (former Soviet) Army (or, in an abbreviated form, "Spetsnaz GRU") are intended for conducting secret combat operations at the rear of the enemy. Missions carried out by SPETSNAZ troops determine special character and basic lines of SPETSNAZ COMBAT 

In a combat training of Spetsnaz soldiers a great attention is paid to their ability to engage in hand-to-hand combat and to use hand-held weapon as well as various expedients. The main mission of a Spetsnaz fighter in a Close Combat is to destroy the enemy with any available means as quickly as possible despite their arms and superior number. The fighter himself should not be seriously affected, otherwise he could jeopardize the achievement of a fighting mission by his reconnaissance/sabotage team. That's why the combat training of a fighter from the Spetsnaz is aimed at gaining a flawless proficiency in many types of fire arms and cold steel and traditionally a combat knife is of special importance among them.

Usually a fighter from the Spetsnaz has several knives: knife-bayonet for a Kalashnikov's submachine-gun (AK-74), combat knife, all-purpose "survival" knife, all-purpose clasp-knife, hidden knife, and (or) fling knife. If necessary, any can become an effective weapon.

The basic peculiarity of a knife combat is that it is the combat of short duration. After fighters have approached a striking distance, the result of a fight is at stake within fractions of a second; one or two exact lunges and you win or perish. That's why the main requirement to a fighter from the Spetsnaz at the initial training stage in knife-combat technique is flawless acquiring of basic methods up to the automatic level: one has no time to ponder in a fight!It is necessary to acquire naturalness of method execution through hard
training. You must feel the knife as an extension of your hand. Your movements must be light and quick, one movement should smoothly transform into another one.

Peculiar features of a knife combat according to the version of the Spetsnaz GRU are many withdrawals, jumps, turns, sudden changes in levels and attack directions (the latter is especially actual in a fight against several enemies),wide use of feints. And all those are done in continuous motion! It is very difficult to follow even flutter of the knife in expert' hands, but to foresee the place at which a strike will be delivered... it is practically impossible.

It is hard to foresee expert's actions during a knife fight, because his stock of methods is very large. He is in a constant motion, trying to take an advantageous position for an attack, makes feint lunges, inducing you to engage. It is not enough to know the knife basic technique in order to outmatch an experienced enemy. You should be able to unite elements of the basic technique into fighting combinations ("bunches") and spontaneously use them in a fight depending on the situation.

Improvisation is important in any fight, in a knife fight as well, but an impromptu action should base on experience and knowledge. It is impossibleto write without knowing letters. Letters are an element of the basic technique, words are fighting combinations. Randomly written letters do not mean a word. Hand-to-hand combat is governed by certain laws based on biomechanics of the human body and psychology. That's why a fighting combination is not a casual, but a law-governed set of basic techniques that leads to success in certain situations.

The book presents the most effective knife fighting combinations and their use in different combat situations, including a combat against two armed enemies. Countermeasures against an enemy who is armed with a knife and uses those combinations against you are also considered.

The book serves as a training aid and it is designed for instructors in hand-tohand combat of the Special Forces and for those who are interested in selfdefense with cold steel.

Conception of Knife Combat

The peculiar features of a fight against an enemy armed with the knife lies in that fact that you should approach him with great caution and foresight. Knife is a quite dangerous weapon and any false step can cost you life. It is impossible to predict which stroke will be used by your enemy. However, seeing the position he is standing at this or that moment, you can try to foresee his possible actions. Every position dictates its own conditions. If you
do not know that, you’d better not fight at all. It is similar to the fight which is conducted blindfolded. It can be also compared to the car driving without 
traffic regulations knowledge. You will have an accident at once.

Real hand-to hand combat with "bare hands" is quick and transient, but a knife combat is still shorter. In a knife combat any well-aimed blow will be either mortal or disabling you. Unlike a combat with "bare hands" where you can beat off (block) enemy's blows with arms, it can not be done in a knife combat because you will receive a wound. Equally you can not shorten the distance to make enemy's blow weaker at the moment of an enemy's attack, as it is usually done in a hand-to-hand combat because in that case even if you weaken force of a blow, all the same you will be wounded. A knife slash, even not too strong, is very dangerous.

Therefore, the knife combat introduces some changes into the fighting technique. There should not be deceitful postures and movements, as the slightest mistake is fraught with a mortal danger. At no account one should thoughtlessly jump and caper before the enemy. While you are jumping or moving, the enemy can swiftly run up to you and deliver a mortal blow. If you are in a state of readiness, you will easily respond to enemy's movement 
and quickly move aside or back. If you are jumping up at one place, at that moment (at the moment of a jump) you are in a state of unreadiness; and cang not dodge back or aside. The same happens when you make unnecessary movements before the enemy. At that moment you are in a state of unreadiness too and become an easy prery of your enemy.

Dodges aside or back with a slashing blow, with a subsequent counterattack with a stabbing or slashing blow at vital points are very important in a knife combat. It is necessary to evaluate situation and clothing of your enemy. If the enemy wears thick and dense clothes, slashes will not harm him seriously. In this case arm blocks can be also used.

Judging by the fact how the enemy holds a knife and how he moves, one can say at once if he is a novice or professional. If the enemy holds a knife before him and makes various passes with it, one can say at once that he is a novice who saw a lot of cinema thrillers. The knife, even if it is before you, should not move too far from the torso, moreover, one should not make various figures with it, as at that moment you can allow to deliver a mortal blow. A genuine professional does not make unnecessary movements in a mortal combat, his movement are economical and simple. He will never brandish a knife before himself. A professional expects enemy's actions and acts depending a situation. If the enemy expect your attack in a state of readiness, your thoughtless attack will look like a jump in precipice, and most likely you will perish.

If an enemy is in a state of readiness, it is necessary to bring him out of this state with various false actions. But at no account it means that a professional will run or jump before you, brandishing a knife. Not at all! A professional clearly senses the distance and knows where he will be safe and where he will become an enemy's target. If your enemy is jumping, bustling, brandishing a knife, he will be an easy prey of a professional. The only thing to do is to choose an appropriate moment and make a swift attack.

A combat against several armed enemies extremely aggravates the situation. In this case one must not stand motionless and wait for an enemy's mistake. You must move all the time to avoid hostile attacks from several sides. That's why you need to move toward one of the enemies, so that the other enemies could not approach you from the back or sides. While moving aside, it is necessary to watch enemies' actions all the time and choose a convenient moment for an counterattack. When moving aside, deliver strong slashing blows at enemy's vital points (important parts of the body) and extremities.

A combat against several enemies armed with knives is complicated by the fact that you can not always use a mistake or fault of one of your enemies, as during your counterattack the second enemy can deliver a mortal blow. In that case although you kill one enemy, the second one will kill you. When you fight against the enemy armed with the knife, you should fix continuously all his positions (of arms, legs, body, weapon etc.). It is very important as all these details can help you predict your enemy’s possible actions. Because every position dictates its own conditions and possible actions. However, your thoughts and ideas about these items must run in your subconsciousness. You should take the decision about this or that action at the instinct level. Your consciousness must be clear and sober at the fighting moment.

Consciousness is a thinker, a strategist, a programmer. Subconsciousness is a computer which gives you the momentary decision for the task known in advance. You should insert the algorithm of the particular solution beforehand. Only then it will be able to solve it. The algorithm is put by the programmer. If it is done incorrectly, the task will be solved incorrectly as well. The subconsciousness (computer) gives you the answer immediately.

That is why you should use it when fighting against your enemies. 

Consciousness (programmer) would search the definite answer much longer although it did insert the necessary solution into subconsciousness. That is why you must switch it off when fighting otherwise it will brake all your actions. The main task of training is to form that knowledge in your subconsciousness which will help you in real fights. Thus you will be able to find the right solution at once.

It is very important to know why you need these training and what exactly you want to put in your subconsciousness. If you obtain incorrect knowledge or that one you will never need in practice, you will not manage with all fighting tasks. Mover over, your subconsciousness will find wrong solutions.

This may cause deplorable consequences, especially since we talk about enemies armed with knives. Any mistake can lead to the lethal outcome.


Before starting learning any technique, you should understand why you need. You have to imagine vividly what goals you want to reach and then search for different ways of the realization. If you want to achieve sport’s results and become a champion, it supposes one way. If you want to strengthen your health – you will choose another way. If you want to get joy – this is the third way. If you want to master the self-defense methods, you have to choose the fourth way and so on.

The easiest way to start going in for martial arts is to find a club. It would help you realize the first three currents. If you want to practice self-defense, you will have to think twice before choosing this or that school. Before making choice, you should analyze and weigh everything thoroughly. You’d better visit several clubs in order you could make a comparative analysis of their methods.

How and what do they learn? How are they trained? Do the coaches verify the methods learnt by their disciples? How do they do that ? Do they tell you always the truth concerning your results? You can learn lots of good methods but in fact they will not work for you in real fights though they will look beautifully and striking. All these methods must be tested in real fights against skillful opponent so you will reveal their advantages and drawbacks at once. Never test this or that method in a fight against inexperienced enemy as
any technique will look good in this case.

Never trust anyone even though people who surround you speak how wonderfully it is. You should verify it in person. Trainings with sparringpartner is not the verification of the technique you learn. It is nothing but the skill acquiring. It is far from the real fight as well as authentic flower is not that one drawn on paper.

Your technique must work in any situation that is why you should test it in full contact with different opponents. It is better to use protective equipment and work in full speed. Before starting training in a sports’ club, find out whether hard real fights are practiced there or not. Leave it at once if they are not in use there. Secondly, find out whether disciples can apply those methods they learn in hard contact fights. If disciples fight ferociously but cannot use
methods they already know, it means that they are taught incorrect technique.

In this case you have nothing to do there. If you put unsteady basis, your building will crash sooner or later and you will be buried under the wreckage. In this case you’d better not build it at all.

Fight combination analysis

Combination 1.

This combination consists of two elements. First, you make a step backwards (with your back leg). At the same time you need to make a cutting move with knife in bottom-up direction from left to the right (pic. 1 – 3). Then step forward with your front leg and deliver a straight knife blow at the face or the throat of the enemy (“Spurt of a rattlesnake”) (pic 4 – 5). This combination has a defensive counter-attack character


  Alexander Popov. Knife Combat - Version of Spetsnaz GRU - Self-Defense with Knife. Moscow, 2005 /e-Book, pdf, 1.93 MB, 69 pp./ (#300054175):

















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